Stress eats your mag­ne­sium

New Zealand’s favourite well­be­ing ex­pert an­swers read­ers’ ques­tions about their health.

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR HEALTH -

Ques­tion: Hi Dr Libby, I’ve read that mag­ne­sium is very im­por­tant, par­tic­u­larly when we are stressed. So do we need more mag­ne­sium when we are stressed? Thanks, Melissa

Mag­ne­sium is the fourth most abun­dant min­eral in the body and we don’t talk enough about it and the vi­tal role it plays in great health and en­ergy, as well as dis­ease preven­tion. About 50 per cent of to­tal body mag­ne­sium is found in our bones. Mag­ne­sium is re­quired for more than 300 bio­chem­i­cal re­ac­tions in the body. It helps main­tain nor­mal mus­cle and nerve func­tion, keeps heart rhythm steady, sup­ports a healthy im­mune sys­tem, keeps bones strong and al­lows us to re­lax.

Al­though you may not ob­tain op­ti­mal amounts of mag­ne­sium from your diet for a host of rea­sons, it’s rare to be truly de­fi­cient. How­ever, cer­tain con­di­tions can dis­rupt the body’s mag­ne­sium bal­ance. For ex­am­ple, a gas­troin­testi­nal in­fec­tion that causes vom­it­ing or di­ar­rhoea, some gas­troin­testi­nal dis­eases (such as IBS or ul­cer­a­tive coli­tis), type 2 di­a­betes, pan­cre­ati­tis, hy­per­thy­roidism (high thy­roid hor­mone lev­els), kid­ney dis­ease and cer­tain med­i­ca­tions such as di­uret­ics can lead to de­fi­cien­cies. Mag­ne­sium can also be­come de­pleted with pro­longed stress, as it is re­quired by the body to pro­duce the stress hor­mone adrenalin. There­fore, our re­quire­ments are greater when we are pro­duc­ing ex­ces­sive amounts of stress hor­mones as the body’s pri­or­ity is to save your life from the dan­ger it per­ceives you are in, rather than spar­ing the mag­ne­sium for good bone health, for ex­am­ple. Stress man­age­ment is vi­tal to main­tain­ing the bal­ance of many vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, in­clud­ing mag­ne­sium. Ques­tion: Hi Dr Libby. My hair­dresser has com­mented that my hair is break­ing re­ally eas­ily. Is there some­thing I can do with my diet that might help this? I’monly 23 so Iwant to get this sorted! Thanks, Keira

There are many rea­sons why hair might break eas­ily, but let’s ad­dress a few from a di­etary per­spec­tive. Low fer­ritin lev­els can af­fect the growth cy­cle of hair, es­pe­cially in women. Fer­ritin is your body’s iron stor­age. It can have a pro­found im­pact on the health of your hair as good lev­els

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